Celestial banquet hanging, from the tomb of Bishop Gurb

Celestial banquet hanging, from the tomb of Bishop Gurb


Plain weave with inwoven tapestry weave: silk and gold thread

Overall: 21.2 x 58.5 cm (8 3/8 x 23 1/16 in.); Mounted: 30.2 x 67 cm (11 7/8 x 26 3/8 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1966.368


This rare silk fragment and several others were reportedly found in the tomb of Bishop Gurb (died 1284) in the Cathedral of Barcelona in about 1890. Thrown into the street as "rubbish," they were retrieved and preserved. The original luxurious hanging of brightly colored silk and shiny gold thread displayed rows of figural roundels on a plain ground with elaborate borders across the top and bottom. The two turbaned men holding flasks flanking a palmette tree and the turbaned rider with a flying scarf were derived from the ancient Near Eastern imperial themes of the banquet and hunt. The Arabic inscription framing each roundel proclaims, "There is no god but Allah."

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